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AMCC takes switch ICs to low-end nets

Posted: 31 May 2004 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:applied micro circuits? prs switch fabric? prs 5g? prs 20G? amcc?

Applied Micro Circuits Corp. has expanded its PRS switch fabric family with the release of two ICs optimized for remote-access boxes, storage-area network gear, enterprise equipment and other low-end networking designs.

"Carriers want to push services closer to the customer," said Gilles Garcia, director of marketing for switch fabrics at AMCC. "They want to push network processors further out into the network."

To help with this push, AMCC has developed the PRS 5G switch, which delivers throughput of 5Gbps and the PRS 20G, which delivers 20Gbps.

The PRS 5G targets designers looking to build low-cost boxes that do not require a centralized switch fabric card. In this approach, the PRS 5G will be implemented on all boards in a system, then connected through 3.125Gbps serial interfaces to form a mesh backplane. As many as eight PRS 5G devices can be meshed in this way, Garcia said.

Designs with more than eight cards can link the PRS 5G-equipped cards through a centralized switch fabric, such as AMCC's PRS 80G, to hit higher performance levels. Thus, designers can start by building a low-end system and then leverage their investment when moving to a higher-performance box. "This is a pay-as-you-grow architecture," Garcia said.

The PRS 20G can attach to one 10Gb network processor or four 2.5Gbps processors. Up to two PRS 20G switches can be interconnected through 3.125Gbps serial interfaces for designs without a centralized fabric. Designers can also implement this switch in a system featuring a centralized fabric or in an aggregation system featuring PRS 5G boards.

Both of AMCC's new PRS switches use a shared-memory architecture and sport CSIX and SPI-3 interfaces for linking up with network processors.

The PRS 5G and PRS 20G switch chips are sampling in the second quarter. AMCC has also developed Advanced Telecom Computing Architecture reference designs around the switch chips to aid development.

- Robert Keenan

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